“But,” the King went on, “I will know how to reconcile interest with justice. I will chastise the guilty one without risking the capital. His punishment shall be bicelle b5 gelthe most beautiful ornament of funeral obsequies; and, from above, from the homes of the Palikars, to which thy spirit has gone, thou shalt contemplate, with joy, an expiatory punishment, which shall not cost us a sou!”

This peroration aroused the audience. I was the only one not charmed. I puzzled my brain trying to imagine what the King had in store for me, and I felt so little assured, that my teeth chattered. Surely, I ought to esteem myself happy to save my life, and the preservation of my head seemed no mean advantage; but I knew the inventive imagination of these Greeks of the highway. Hadgi-Stavros, without putting me to death, could inflict such chastisement as would make me hate life. The old rascal refused to inform me as to what punishment he had in store for me. He pitied my agony so little, that he compelled me to assist in the funeral ceremonies of his lieutenant.

The body was stripped of its garments, carried to the brook, and bathed. Vasile’s features were changed but little; his mouth, half-open, still bore the silly smile of the drunkard; his open eyes preserved a stupid look. His limbs had not lost their suppleness; the rigor mortis does not come, for a long time, to those who die by accident.

The King’s coffee-bearer Neo skin laband pipe-bearer proceeded to dress the dead. The King bore the expenses as heir. Vasile had no relatives, and all his property reverted to the King. They clothed the body in a fine shirt, a shirt of beautiful percale, and a vest embroidered with silver. They covered his wet locks with a bonnet which was nearly new. They put leggins of red silk on the legs which would never run again. Slippers of Russia leather were slipped on his feet. In all his life, poor Vasile had never been so clean nor so gorgeous. They touched his lips with carmine; they whitened and rouged his face as if he was a young actor about to step on the stage. During the whole operation, the bandit orchestra executed a lugubrious air, research center which you must have heard in the streets of Athens. I congratulate myself that I did not die in Greece, because the music is abominable, and I never could have consoled myself, if I had been buried to that air.